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Changes in a Greek Golden Visa programm. New type of Residence Permit in Greece

The Circular of the Ministry of Migration Policy No 7/15.02.2017 was published, providing instructions for the collection of biometric data upon the procedure of issuance of the electronic residence permit, in accordance with the Council Regulation (EC) No 1030/2002, as amended by the Regulation No 280/2008.

In accordance with the aforementioned circular, from Monday, February 20, 2017, a form of residence permit to third-country nationals has been modified, issued by the «one-stop shops» of the relevant aliens and migration department of the decentralized administrations at the place of residence. In particular, the residence permit will no longer be issued in the form of a sticker in a passport, but as a separate document, electronic card, which will contain the identification data of the foreigner, the necessary biometric data (digital photograph of the face and two digital fingerprints), as well as radio frequency integrated circuit (RF chip) as the aforementioned data’s carrier.

The electronic residence title will be granted to all third-country nationals, who are holders of residence permits under the provisions of Law 4251/2014 and the presidential decree 106/2007 (family members of EU citizens), whether it is the first issue of the document or its renewal. The third-country nationals who have acquired or will acquire until February 20, 2017 the old-pattern residence permits are not obliged to substitute them by the new electronic ones, this should be done only at renewal or re-issue in case of expiry of a passport.

The electronic residence permit from now on will contain mandatorily the following information:

- Holder’s photo

- As appropriate, an indication of the holder’s eligibility for the access to the employment market, as well as an indication of the code of the authority that issued the residence permit, and the file reference number

- Digital signature of the holders (the holders older than 12 years old)

- Date and place of birth of the holder, as specified in the passport or travel document (in cases where the place of birth (town, not only the country) is not mentioned in the passport, the applicant must provide the nationally recognized document from his country of origin, officially translated and certified, that clearly confirms his birthplace)

- Code of the country of birth

- Sex

- As appropriate, an indication of the provisions of the law, according to which a specific residence permit was issued

- Where appropriate, an indication of the fingerprints, if a residence permit does not include fingerprints due to a temporary or permanent physical disability of one or both hands.

The inability to obtain biometric data relates to the situations where there is a partial or complete inability of the applicant to undergo the procedure of collecting fingerprints and / or the procedure of obtaining of the specimen signatures connected with temporary or permanent physical disability, ascertainable by providing of the appropriate medical certificate (applies to cases where the collection of biometric data of one hand cannot be done due to the temporary or permanent restrictions for medical reasons).

Separate documents will be printed in the passport department of the Hellenic police’s headquarters. The cost of printing, which is set at 16 euros for one document, will be levied in the form of e-voucher, and it will be returned only in case of a negative decision on the application for a residence permit.

In accordance with the provisions of paragraph 8 of the article 1 of Law 4018/2011, the submission of the application for a residence permit involves the irrevocable consent of the applicant for the keeping and processing of his biometric data. The written notification of the party concerned, in particular, about the collection of biometric data, is mandatory, failure to appear without good cause after repeated notification constitute grounds for refusal.

There are the following cases:

1) immediate presence of the person concerned for the collection of biometric data, in cases where the person concerned is personally present and the collection of biometric data is possible

2) filing of application for a residence permit is carried out by an authorized attorney or other representative. In this case, notification for the collection of biometric data at the scheduled date is issued to the authorized person

3) data collection is not possible due to the unforeseen objective circumstances. In this case, the first notification’s write-off procedure is carried out and follows the issuance of the new one, which establishes the exact date of data collection. If, however, the person concerned fails to appear within the specified day (it is regarded as the first notification), the system issues a new (second) notification that is sent by the official channels with confirmed, in any case, delivery to the person concerned. If deadline of the second notification lapses, the corresponding application is rejected.

The set date for the appearance of the person concerned for the collection of biometric data should not exceed 30 days from the date of filing of an application. In particular, in the category of investors (article 20B of the Law 4251/2014), if the applicant is not present in the country at the time of filing, this date can be set upon agreement with the authorized lawyer at the time when the person concerned will be in country without time limit of 30 days. The reasonable period, in such cases, is a period of 6 months and, under all circumstances, the biometric data should be collected prior to the expiration date of certificate of the filing of documents.

The electronic residence permit was established as a document of high safety standards, and with this purpose it includes several security features (visible or not), to protect against counterfeiting, theft, use of any third person, or from any falsification. Consequently, a key element of security is, inter alia, the introduction of such biometric data, as the fingerprints of two fingers (index finger of the left and right hands) photograph of the applicant’s face, printing of the holder’s digital signature, total contact circuit (as carrier data) and machine readable zone.

SPECIMEN SIGNATURE

The specimens of signature are collected during the year, when the third-country national reaches the age of 12 years when filing the application, otherwise, there is no such obligation. Also, from this obligation can be excluded the persons with injuries, temporary or permanent or those placed under judicial interdiction. The inability to collect the specimens of signature is confirmed by the special supporting documents, that must be provided by the applicant (a procedure similar to the one that follows in the cases of inability to collect fingerprints).

PHOTO

A passport-sized photo of the applicant’s face will be produced in 4 copies and on the optical disc (CD). Specifications:

- recent photo (preferably, within the last month before the application)

- 4x6 cm (frameless)

- displaying or printing on high quality white photographic paper, not watermarked or embossed

- with high-resolution, with no dots (pixels), printed not on Ink Jet Laser printers.

FINGERPRINTS

The fingerprints are collected from the index fingers of the left and right hand. In cases where the fingerprinting of the index fingers is not possible due to a temporary or permanent physical disability, the fingerprints from the other fingers are collected in the following order: thumb, middle and ring finger. From the obligation on the collection of fingerprints are excluded the children under the age of 6 years, as also the persons with temporary (fracture, burn, etc.) or permanent (amputation, permanent deformation, etc.) injuries to one or both hands, that must be confirmed by the corresponding medical certificate. In case of injury of one hand only, the prints are taken with the other hand.

After fingerprint collection, the procedure of collection of the necessary biometric data is completed and it is sent in real time to the central database of the Ministry of Migration Policy for quality control of photo and signature image.

If it will be revealed that one of the above two elements or both elements do not meet the required standards, in order to make possible their registration and printing on a separate document, the person concerned will be notified in writing to provide new photos or to appear again for collection of the specimen signature.

The procedure completes with the issuance of the residence permit as a separate document: upon initial granting – following the normal procedure, in other cases (renewal, re-issue) – after the destruction of the previous residence permit.